We are tengu. Our way is the way of the sword, the path of the warrior. The highest challenge for a tengu is that which tests both heart and soul, mind and body. We seek enlightenment at the edge of good steel. When each movement flows seamlessly into the next, a perfect dance of flesh and wind and flashing blade, we find peace. Listen and I will teach you wisdom, I will tell you of the tengu...
In The Company Of Tengu is a player character race designed for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Within you will find:
Detailed in character first person description giving you new insights into roleplaying the children of the wind and the mountain.
Three new racial archetypes for the Cavalier (Tenguhatamoto; Order of the Boar), Fighter (Tengubushi) and Paladin (Tenguyamabushi) that help immerse you in the eastern style of Kaidan
New Racial Paragon Class 1-20th level (Hishoken) allowing you to explore the soul of flight.
10 New Tengu Related Feats so that you can make each Tengu a unique and individual character.
Author: Jonathan McAnulty Cover Illustration: Mark Hyzer Pages: 21
This product is 26 pages long. It starts with a cover, credits and ToC. (3 pages)
Tengu (19 pages)
This section has all the racial information to play the Tengu as a new race. There is also favored class options, archetypes, 7 new racial traits, 20 level racial class and it ends with 10 new racial feats. The race seems fairly well balanced with the rest of the base races.
It ends with a OGL, ads and back cover. (4 pages)
Closing thoughts. The art work is mostly color and ranges from so so to pretty good. Layout and editing was pretty good but I noticed a few more mistakes than is normal in Rite Publishing products. Nothing that made it hard to understand just some minor mistakes here and there. The favored class options where so so. The three new archetypes for Cavalier, Paladin and Fighter where all pretty good. The race paragon class was solid.
So what's my rating? Well first let me say this is not a race that honestly appeals to me. With that said it is well done though as a whole. I think the favored class options could have used a little more work, they was a bit meh to be honest. With the slightly higher than normal editing errors I am going to give this one a 4 star review. If the race appeals to you then it is worth picking up.
Trust me, I'm a Succubus.
The society of the Tengu, fully described, with classes and options
I first ran into the Tengu in an adventure product by Paizo, The Godsmouth Heresy. To avoid spoilers I will just say that they were encountered in a mini low level dungeon that seemed entirely out of place. No back story of significance was provided and it seemed that they were just included as a level appropriate potentially non-combat encounter. As I was modifying the thing for much higher level characters I chose to simply remove this out-of-place encounter. But as I did so, something scratched at the back of my brain. I was sure I had seen these beings before somewhere. I just chalked it up to the fact that I have read many game supplements over the years of playing and decided it was likely that my déjà vu came from this.
Then I heard of Rite Publishing’s In the Company of Tengu as a future supplement that fit in well with their Kaidan campaign world. This is when it struck me; I now know where I ran across references to these beings. Long ago I read about them in my studies of the cultures of Asia and the Pacific. Now I know why they didn’t fit in the dungeon where they had been placed. I could simply run the encounter as written, let my players deal with them and simply shrug when they ask questions. But I prefer to run adventures where things in them make sense. There has to be a reason why these creatures were in this dungeon, and prior to this product by Rite I was hard pressed to come up with a good one. Here is the value of Rite’s “In the Company of” series, for me. It fills in the background of these strange beings just as was done for the Kappa in a previous book. This isn’t merely for players who wish to play something quite alien from “typical” adventuring races. It provides a fully fleshed out society, an invaluable tool for the busy GM.
Included in this book are the player-centric tools for those who really want to play these bird folk in an Asian-style setting, from notes on Tengu adventurers and names, racial features, traits, and favored class options to class specific sections for running a Tengu PC. Not only does this supplement have the expected monk (Budoka) and paladin (Yamabushi) classes, but also there’s a Dire Boar mounted archetype for a Tengu Cavalier (Tenuhatamoto; Order of the Boar), an extensive section on a pure fighter class (Tengubushi), as well as a racial paragon class, the Hishoken, that interweaves a blade master with the Tengu’s affinity with flight and air. In addition is a section on the ultimate paragon of Tengu society, the Daitengu, which serves as an NPC for the GM or possibly the ideal goal of a PC. Lastly is a full page of Tengu-based feats.
The icing on the cake for me is the look of the book. Included in the pages is some art that clearly came from original Japanese sources showing their mythological view of the Tengu. In addition, there is some new color and black and white art that helps the players and GM visualize these beings. It isn’t all awesome, but it is good. I have to admit that I really like inclusion of the traditional Japanese art best of all, but that is probably the anthropologist in me.
From a personal note: I thank the folks at Rite for solving a plot hole for me in my own campaign, though you didn’t know I needed a solution. This provides me with a tapestry of culture that I can weave in front of my players and helps me prepare when they choose to get interested in these strange bird-like beings from a distant place. An encounter with an isolated group suddenly grows to become first contact with an entire society.
I rate this at five of five stars for this fantastic tool for both players and game masters who want to play in a Japanese-type setting. Admittedly this is a niche product, but that is what third party companies can do incredibly well. Rite Publishing proves this to be true yet again. More Kaidan setting tools please!
V.2.0 now with Magus-support; possibly the best installment of the series
This (now revised) pdf is 31 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 5 pages advertisement, 1 page back cover and 2 pages SRD, leaving 20 pages for the Tengu, so let's check them out!
In tradition with the series, the pdf kicks off with three tales that illustrate the mindset via 3 tales - I really enjoyed the read and the minor editing glitches of V1 have been taken care of. After that, we get the concisely-written and compelling IC-narrated origin myth of the Tengu race as well as a great introduction to the unique, enlightenment-seeking nature of the race as well as its concept of honor. The Tengu society and their relationships with other races (including the Kappa, Hengeyokai and Korobokkuru) and we also get discussions on alignment and religion, languages (including their love of poetry), discussion of their adventurers and nomenclature. It should be noted that the IC-narrative is consistent and consequently used and thus makes this a very enjoyable read.
After that, we get the racial traits of the Tengu: They get +2 Dex, -2 Con, +2 Wis, low-light vision, a natural bite attack, get two additional skills as class skills, +2 to Stealth and Perception (here is a blank line too much in the block), +4 to linguistics and learn more languages and proficiency in swords. Alternate racial traits are also provided, in case you want your Tengu to use axes or spears instead of swords, a tengu proficient with riding and handling animals, Tengu born in forests or mountains, especially gifted poets or brown especially fierce Kite Tengu. We also get an Age, Height & Weight table and an extensive discussion (including the Japanese terms) of the Tengu's take on all classes. Following RiP's excessively detailed and customizable standard, we get 9 favored class options covering the base classes as well as one for the summoner and one for the cavalier - nice!
Speaking of the cavalier: The Tengu get new archetypes and the cavalier gets one of the most kick-ass takes on the class imaginable.. I've got 4 words for you.
Dire-boar Tengu cavalry. HOW AWESOME IS THAT???
I'm a jaded cynic, but this just blew my mind!
And the mechanical execution rocks, too, providing you with mount stats and an extensively detailed order. Believe me, this one ROCKS! The next archetype is less awesome, but still nice, offering a valid take on a dexterous fighter. Their very own paladin-archetype, focusing on interaction with nature and kami and awakening the spirit within one's blade is nice.
Magus-friends rejoice, for RiP has added the archetype of Tengukensei, an awesome and very iconic take on our favorite arcane fighter in the revised pdf – this quite frankly goes above and beyond what almost any company out there does and once agin proves RiP’s commitment to offeing the very best to its fans as well as heeding the criticism they receive. Awesome!
After these, we get the Hishoken, the 20-level Tengu racial paragon class. The class gets full BAB, good fort and ref-saves, 4+Int skills per level and d10, being a fighting class focusing on agile attacks, lightning fast strikes and finally can become weightless (standing on e.g. thin branches) and even getting limited flight and the ability to temporarily transform into elementals.
After this rather cool class, we get a short discussion on the Daitengu, the legendary Tengu-sages of their respective mountains. The pdf closes with 10 new, Tengu-related feats, centering on improving their flight and swordsmanship. Mechanically, I didn't have a problem with any of the feats, all seemed balanced and like reasonable picks.
Editing is top-notch, I noticed no more glitches, all the old ones have been taken care of. Layout is full-color and adheres to the beautiful, bamboo-lined Kaidan-standard. The artworks are mostly ok, but the b/w-artwork depicting the Tengu simply kicks ass - kudos to Mark Hyzer, I love this piece! The pdf is extensively book-marked and I'll come right out and say it: It's my favorite book of the "In the Company"-series to this date. I have no complaints regarding the racial class and the archetypes rock hard. I love the mindset of the Tengu and where "In the Company of Kappa" sometimes felt a bit confused with regards to IC-narrative/crunch, this book, like the wind and the mountains that gave birth to the Tengu, creates a concise and serenely beautiful work that makes for a great read while providing you with the tools to use the Tengu. Even better, V.2.0 offers more content (Magus-archetype), features no glitches and quite frankly is one of the most kick-ass reads for a asian-themed race/class. It offers an excellent bang-for-buck-ratio and you quite frankly have no reason not to pick this up. The new and improved “In the Company of Tengu” gets my highest verdict of 5 stars with the Endzeitgeist-seal of approval.
Aimed at Rite Publishing's 'Kaidan' setting, there is evocative material here that could be useful whenever you want to introduce an oriental flavour into your game. It opens with three short stories, told in a gentle oriental style, telling of the adventures of a young swordsman called Akaan and, more importantly, how he grew spiritually and then in his turn taught others. First listen, then meditate on what you have heard.
Moving on, but in the same style, comes an explanation of what tengu are - sentient flightless bird-men, to put it briefly. Customs, traditions, faith, the rhythm of their lives, are all covered here for those who would seek to understand or portray them. The race would seem suitable for players who favour a philosphical approach and are comfortable with thoughtful role-play of a character who has considered his place and aspirations carefully, not that tengu are by any means pacifistic as to them mastery of the sword is a high art indeed! Believing their race to be descended from the wind and the mountains, they revere both and often express themselves in arts such as poetry and calligraphy as well as in swordplay. A well-rounded tengu displays competence in all of these and more.
Only once this discussion is done do we reach the relevant game mechanics necessary to create a tengu character. Naturally, individuals may pursue any class, and each is discussed briefly as to their suitability and the way in which most tengu would approach that vocation. Several archetypes are also presented. For example, some tengu tame and raise boar, and ride them as Cavaliers. Others pursue a distinctively tengu form of Paladinhood. Others seek the very power of flight, developing a martial style involving prodigious leaps and eventually even limited flight. Seekers after great wisdom may aspire to become daitengu, the near-immortal guardians of mountain-top shrines.
Finally comes a selection of new feats. Many could be picked up by non-tengu characters, perhaps by spending time with tengu, observing them closely and studying their ways: others have the race as a prerequisite.
Overall, beautifully-presented in evocative style, it is easy to picture tengu society and see how you might place them in a suitable part of your world - or, for that matter, have a clear picture of your homeland if you wish to play one who has travelled far to adventure in other lands. A nicely-put-together piece, a few minor layout flaws, but pleasing to eye and mind alike.